Why would Am­gen want to buy Alex­ion? An­a­lysts call hot­ly ru­mored takeover un­like­ly, but seize the mo­ment

A ru­mor that Am­gen is clos­ing in on buy­out deal for Alex­ion has sparked a guess­ing game on just what kind of M&A strat­e­gy Am­gen is pur­su­ing and how much Alex­ion is worth.

Mizuho an­a­lyst Sal­im Syed first lent cre­dence to the re­port out of the Span­ish news out­let In­tere­conomía, which said Am­gen is bid­ding as much as $200 per share. While the source may be ques­tion­able, “the con­cept of this hap­pen­ing doesn’t sound too crazy to me,” he wrote.

Alex­ion $ALXN, which opened at $113.6 Thurs­day, end­ed the day up 8% at $123.49.

The deal — or any fur­ther ev­i­dence of it — has yet to ma­te­ri­al­ize, and a num­ber of an­a­lysts are fill­ing the void with their own takes on why it prob­a­bly nev­er will.

Yaron Wer­ber Cowen

“In our view, such com­bi­na­tion does not make strate­gic sense and would not fit Am­gen’s strate­gic ma­trix,” Yaron Wer­ber of Cowen be­gan. “Such a deal would roll Am­gen back­wards just as it is be­gin­ning to see a new dawn of growth ahead.”

Cit­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with man­age­ment, Wer­ber added that Alex­ion — de­spite its lu­cra­tive rare dis­ease port­fo­lio — does not seem to check any box­es for Am­gen. The biotech’s or­phan fo­cus ap­pears at best an awk­ward fit to Am­gen’s ex­per­tise in on­col­o­gy, in­flam­ma­tion and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­or­ders. More im­por­tant­ly, swal­low­ing Alex­ion and its Solirus cash cow would mean deal­ing with more patents and biosim­i­lars at a time Am­gen is try­ing to move away from lega­cy prod­ucts, he not­ed.

In fact, Am­gen is be­hind one of these biosim­i­lars go­ing af­ter Alex­ion’s star C5 an­ti­body, with a Phase III tri­al un­der­way.

Ge­of­frey Porges SVB Leerink

How­ev­er Am­gen would go about re­solv­ing that di­rect com­pe­ti­tion, those po­ten­tial FTC headaches or di­vesti­ture ef­forts don’t make it the most log­i­cal ac­quir­er of Alex­ion, SVB Leerink’s Ge­of­frey Porges wrote. But that doesn’t mean oth­ers shouldn’t con­sid­er it.

Seiz­ing on the op­por­tu­ni­ty to re­it­er­ate his bull­ish as­sess­ment of Alex­ion, he added that the com­pa­ny should be a prime can­di­date for com­pa­nies with the fire­pow­er to ex­e­cute a siz­able deal — and that $200 per share is a rea­son­able price.

At the end of the day, Porges sur­mised, the un­der­val­u­a­tion of Alex­ion stock was like­ly a rea­son why in­vestors were so ea­ger to seize on­to the ru­mored takeover.

(O)ur the­sis re­mains that if Alex­ion’s stock doesn’t nat­u­ral­ly ap­pre­ci­ate to­wards the range im­plied by this spec­u­la­tion, then ac­qui­si­tion spec­u­la­tion, and in­ter­est, will in­deed sur­face, thus fi­nal­ly gen­er­at­ing pos­i­tive re­turns for the com­pa­ny’s long-suf­fer­ing stock­hold­ers.

A fa­vorite in Alex­ion’s C-suite is leav­ing, and some mighty sur­prised an­a­lysts aren’t the least bit hap­py about it

Analysts hate to lose a biotech CFO they’ve come to trust and admire — especially if they’re being blindsided by a surprise exit.

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While No­var­tis ban­ish­es Zol­gens­ma scan­dal scars — Bio­gen goes on a Spin­raza 'of­fen­sive'

While Novartis painstakingly works to mop up the stench of the data manipulation scandal associated with its expensive gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Zolgensma— rival Biogen is attempting to expand the use of its SMA therapy, Spinraza. 

The US drugmaker $BIIB secured US approval for Spinraza for use in the often fatal genetic disease in 2016. The approval covered a broad range of patients with infantile-onset (most likely to develop Type 1) SMA. 

Jason Kelly. Mike Blake/Reuters via Adobe

Eye­ing big ther­a­peu­tic push, Gink­go bags $290M to build a cell pro­gram­ming em­pire

Ginkgo Bioworks is on a roll. Days after publicizing a plan to nurture new startups via partnerships with accelerators Y Combinator and Petri, the Boston biotech says it has raised another $290 million for its cell programming platform to reach further and wider.

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UP­DAT­ED: Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi to un­veil bill for fed­er­al­ly ne­go­ti­at­ed drug prices

After months of buzz from both sides of the aisle, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will today introduce her plan to allow the federal government to negotiate prices for 250 prescription drugs, setting up a showdown with a pharmaceutical industry working overtime to prevent it.

The need to limit drug prices is a rare point of agreement between President Trump and Democrats, although the president has yet to comment on the proposal and will likely face pressure to back a more conservative option or no bill at all. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is reportedly lobbying his fellow party members on a more modest proposal he negotiated with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden in July.

Jeff Kindler's Cen­trex­ion re­news bid to make pub­lic de­but

Jeffrey Kindler’s plan to take his biotech — which is developing a slate of non-opioid painkillers — public, is back on.

The Boston based company, led by former Pfizer $PFE chief Kindler, originally contemplated a $70 million to $80 million IPO last year— but eventually postponed that strategy. On Wednesday, the company revived its bid to make a public debut in a filing with the SEC — although no pricing details were disclosed.

David Grainger [file photo]

'Dis­con­nect the bas­tard­s' — one biotech's plan to break can­cer cell­s' uni­fied de­fens­es

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the current gladiators of cancer treatment, but they come with well-known limitations and side-effects. The emergence of immunotherapy — a ferocious new titan in oncologist’s toolbox — takes the brakes off the immune system to kill cancer cells with remarkable success in some cases, but the approach is not always effective. What makes certain forms of cancer so resilient? Scientists may have finally pieced together a tantalizing piece of the puzzle, and a new biotech is banking on a new approach to fill the gap.

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Zachary Hornby. Boundless

'A fourth rev­o­lu­tion in can­cer ther­a­pies': ARCH-backed Bound­less Bio flash­es big check, makes big­ger promis­es in de­but

It was the cellular equivalent of opening your car door and finding an active, roaring engine in the driver seat.

Scientists learned strands of DNA could occasionally appear outside of its traditional home in the nucleus in the 1970s, when they appeared as little, innocuous circles on microscopes; inexplicable but apparently innate. But not until UC San Diego’s Paul Mischel published his first study in Science in 2014 did researchers realize these circles were not only active but potentially overactive and driving some cancer tumors’ superhuman growth.

It’s fi­nal­ly over: Bio­gen, Ei­sai scrap big Alzheimer’s PhI­I­Is af­ter a pre­dictable BACE cat­a­stro­phe rais­es safe­ty fears

Months after analysts and investors called on Biogen and Eisai to scrap their BACE drug for Alzheimer’s and move on in the wake of a string of late-stage failures and rising safety fears, the partners have called it quits. And they said they were dropping the drug — elenbecestat — after the independent monitoring board raised concerns about…safety.

We don’t know exactly what researchers found in this latest catastrophe, but the companies noted in their release that investigators had determined that the drug was flunking the risk/benefit analysis.

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Mer­ck helps bankroll new part­ner Themis' game plan to fin­ish the chikun­gun­ya race and be­gin on­colyt­ic virus quest

As Themis gears up for a Phase III trial of its chikungunya vaccine, the Vienna-based biotech has closed out €40 million ($44 million) to foot the clinical and manufacturing bills.

Its heavyweight partners at Merck — which signed a pact around a mysterious “blockbuster indication” last month — jumped into the Series D, led by new investors Farallon Capital and Hadean Ventures. Adjuvant Capital also joined, as did current investors Global Health Investment Fund, aws Gruenderfonds, Omnes Capital, Ventech and Wellington Partners Life Sciences.